Attorneys general from 19 states plus the territory of Guam have asked the Environmental Protection Agency to delay for at least three years its controversial plan to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from 6 million stationary sources, including 200,000 plants.
The first reporting deadline under the program, which went into effect in January, is Sept. 30. In March, congressional Republicans introduced legislation to permanently block the plan.
The controversy stems from EPA's ruling in December 2009 that greenhouse gas emissions endanger public health. Both the chemical and plastics industries said such rules could lead utilities to switch to natural gas which serves as a feedstock and fuel for both industries resulting in higher prices.
A delay would give Congress a chance to evaluate both the need and timing of such regulations, the attorneys general wrote in a March 29 letter to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson.
The Clean Air Act, under which the EPA has adopted its regulations, is not an effective or efficient vehicle to deal with an issue like the worldwide emissions of GHGs, and the issue calls for full debate by our elected representatives.
The EPA has said it will impose construction bans if the new regulations are not met.
There can be no doubt that the immediate consequences will be to make economic recovery more difficult, the letter said. Deferral ... would allow time for a study of the long-term impact of GHG regulations on jobs and the economy.
The program's rules won't apply to new construction or modification of existing facilities until late 2011 at the earliest.